Wrecked By Perfection
I never expected to be a model. Some might think that modeling can be a destructive spotlight to work in. However, years prior to being a model, I was perhaps in an even more destructive spotlight. Though it seemed “good,” and was even “spiritual,” the spotlight of the church stage might have been the greatest struggle for me of all the struggles.
From the time I was little, I wrestled with perfectionism. As a pastor’s kid and as a believer and lover of Jesus at a young age, I wanted to do things RIGHT. I had many good intentions…wanting to have a positive impact on people, wanting to point people in the right direction. However, I thought it was my job to be PERFECT for this to take place. To add to that false belief, when my human pride and ego got involved, I actually BELIEVED I COULD be perfect if I worked hard enough. I then incorporated the need for perfection into other aspects of my life… I tried to have the perfect body, have the perfectly balanced life, be perfect in my accomplishments, and look perfect on the outside. I was only satisfied if I was at least “one of the best” at any and everything I did. This “good intention” of “perfectionism” eventually morphed into a disease in my mind that affected every area of my life.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college after I was in the Miss Washington USA pageant and simultaneously went through my first heartbreak that ALL HELL broke loose. It was THEN that I was finally Wrecked By Perfection.
My perfectionism took many “good” forms until that point. I had been at the top of my class in sports, music, academics, and even friendships. But when I was under the pressure to hold myself together after my heart was broken by my first boyfriend breaking up with me, I couldn’t hold myself together like I had always been able to prior to that. My inability to deal with the emotional aspect led me down a path of disordered eating in my attempt to “regain control” of my life and “hold myself together.” It didn’t take long before I couldn’t handle the hidden disorder that was eating me alive. I had NEVER acted out in such ways, and was shocked that I would actually engage in such destructive behavior. It scared me. I felt alone. I felt out of control. I had always been the “perfect one” all along, but now I was the one who needed help. I broke.
I finally confided in my best friend, Lisa, who loved me in the midst of my mess and helped me get plugged into a counselor. THIS was the start to me identifying, not only the destructive nature of PERFECTIONISM, but the brokenness of my heart behind it.
You see, I had been through a series of betrayals, losses of relationships, family brokenness and had never dealt with it until this point. I had learned how to cope with heart pain through my accomplishments and my success and never dealt with the reality of my heart pain. I allowed the pain in my life, to fuel my drive for success, which looks GREAT on paper, but in reality, it only fueled my pride and ego and ability to succeed without dealing with the root of the issue… it was all at the expense of the pain in my already broken heart.
The culmination of my brokenness that led to disordered eating, certainly seemed to be a HUGE MESS in my life at the time. But that “huge mess” ended up leading me to find the healing and restoration that my heart needed. It was my disordered eating that woke me up to the reality of my need for help, my need for support, and my need for healing. It revealed the brokenness behind my unhealthy tendencies to try to control, and to find my identity in my success and my image.
I often say, “disordered eating saved my life.” Which, really isn’t 100% true… but it did take me experiencing disordered eating to wake me up to the depth of my brokenness and the cry of my heart to be healed so that my life truly WOULD change forever, and for the good.
The struggle never fully goes away… but I know the TRUTH now. And I know my weaknesses now. I’m tempted to find my identity in my success and in my appearance in the world’s eyes nearly every day. But it’s not the TRUTH. My identity is NOT in that and I have to pray daily to remain on the right path and keep my eyes on the TRUTH. Another truth is… we are not alone. We don’t have to remain in hiding. And there is freedom for us all. I am grateful to know this truth now. My life has been forever changed because of it.